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Joyful

4.6 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Debut album from the German-born vocalist. Ayo's father was Nigerian and her mother was a gipsy. This album, recorded in just five days, features tracks that are both a tribute to her mixed upbringing but also a look at her life, most of which she has spent moving from country to country. Produced by Jay Newland, Joyful features exceptional musicians who effortlessly translate Ayo's musical ideas to flawless performances. Influenced by '60s Pop and R&B as well as Reggae and world music, Ayo brings passion and authority to the bittersweet songs on Joyful. 12 tracks including 'Down on My Knees', 'How Many Times' and 'Without You'. Universal. 2007.

Amazon.com

Ayo (her name means "joy" in Nigerian Yoruba) has been on a careening music biz fast track ever since 2006, when her debut release, Joyful, achieved platinum sales in France and several other European countries. The lovely singer-composer-guitarist-pianist was born in Germany to a Nigerian father and a Romanian Roma (Gypsy) mother and, with her husband and son, now divides her time between Paris and New York. Joyful was produced by Grammy award-winner Jay Newland and recorded in New York City in five days flat, under studio-live conditions. This created a relaxed yet urgently charged ambience that underpins the ebb and flow of all 12 tracks. Musically, the tunes incorporate diverse quotes from a polyglot life, such as accordion-laced French bal musette, slouchy Afro-Euro reggae, quietly down-and-dirty R & B-influenced organ riffs, Beatles-eque piano chords, plus subtle strings and over all, a moodily suave acoustic guitar. Ayo's girlishly light but spot-on vocals are sung primarily in English with occasional touches of Nigerian pigeon. She speaks of sexual passion hopeless and fulfilled, family, friendships, and philosophical observations both grim and optimistic; these are young songs from an old soul. The massive success of the present album has led to a television special, Ayo Live in Monte Carlo, which will be aired in the USA on PBS. During it, the young chanteuse performs tunes from Joyful and hobnobs with Princess Stephanie of Monaco, with whom she shares a commitment to children's causes. --Christina Roden

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Down on My Knees
  2. Without You
  3. Letter by Letter
  4. How Many Times?
  5. And It's Supposed to Be Love
  6. Watching You
  7. Only You
  8. Help Is Coming
  9. These Days
  10. Life Is Real
  11. What Is Love?
  12. Neva Been


Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 20, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Interscope
  • ASIN: B000I2KR6M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,863 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

This is my first review on Amazon.com :-) I have heard song "Down on my knees" on my honey moon in France and it just won't get out of my head. When we got home, I got on Internet and started to search wondering who is this artist... After few mouse clicks, I discovered "Ayo - Joyful"! Great music, great rhythm, great voice! And just few minutes ago, I got her whole album and am still repeating this song, although I liked the others too (after one listening). This will be in my player for days, I'm sure :-)
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By D. Rogo on November 27, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This is what I call music. I love how the album is a mix of reggae and neo-soul and folk. My favourite tracks are "Down On My Knees", "Without You", "Help is coming" and "Letter by Letter" but the whole album is well-done and emotional. I highly recommend it to all music lovers!
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By Geminigirl on February 17, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Ayo is definitely a unique new voice on the music landscape. Her lyrics are autobiographical & heartfelt which meshes well with the relaxed/chill vibe of the whole album. This album successfully features elements of reggae, samba & neo-soul.

I can't compare her vocally to any other singers because she had a unique style but if you're an ecclectic listener who has given artists like Rhian Benson, Lamya, Aya or Corrine Bailey Rae a chance then you'd definitely enjoy hearing Ayo.

I'm sure that as I listen to this album over time, my list of favorite tracks will grow but right now the ones that stand out to me are:

WITHOUT YOU - an open letter to her father, it's beautifully spare

AND IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE LOVE - nice cover with sambaesque elements

LIFE IS REAL - beautiful lyrics & one of the few uptempo arrangements

NEVA BEEN - beautiful love song
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
OK, if you want to hear some great music with exceptional lyrics, you need to get your ears on this CD. The production and sound quality are excellent. Ayo reminds me of Sade in that her singing (at least in the English language) is not at the level of a Whitney Houston, but there's something unique and sensual about her voice that makes you keep listening. I also like the fact that she tells stories in her songs. Well done!
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Format: Audio CD
I have Ayo's other project, Joyful, but I wasn't aware she had release another project, Gravity At Last. I love Ayo's unique voice, that sexy growl is bone chillin'. Her lyrics are heartfelt which goes well with her acoustic guitar. This is another exemplary project by her. Currently my favorite tracks are I Am Not Afraid, Love And Hate, and Better Days, I sure my favorite list will grow over time.... This is music at it finest with talented musicians...no computers here!!!
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Format: Audio CD
As Sade is oceanic and earthy, Ayo is air. Her style, like her biracial elder, is sensuous and musically grounded, sweet and a bit melancholy. This album is lovely for twilight listening. In a world run over with soul wannabes, Ayo joins the ranks of those few authentic singer/songwriter/musicians who put truth, heart and beauty into their music. Give yourself a gift and buy this album!
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Format: Audio CD
Ayo is a refreshing change from all of the headaches of the world. Her voice takes you away to a happy place. Her idealistic sentiment on "Help is Coming" makes you believe you can do something to ease the suffering. I have not listened to a cd constantly ever & this is on repeat!
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This album is almost perfect. All of the songs are very simple and relaxing. Most of them are about romantic love, one song dedicated to her father about how grateful she is to have him, and a couple that are about very depressing experiences in her life. It's typical stuff that most people experience at some point in their lives and can easily relate to. It's not lyrically or musically complex at all, just simple melodies played on an acoustic guitar with some drums and accordions and other light instruments in the background. No obscure allusions to other artists or cultural phenomena, no intricate poetry, just simple and straightforward, which is a good thing. Her voice is very soft and soothing as well, and you can feel the passion that she pours into each song.

But there is one song that prevented this album from being perfect IMO: "Down on My Knees." I don't understand how this is the big single of the album. It sounds nice, but the content of the song is very degrading to herself and to women in general. It's about some guy leaving her for another woman, and throughout the entire song she's literally whining and begging for him to come back. It reinforces the whole clingy woman stereotype and makes it seem like she NEEDS to be in a relationship or her whole life is meaningless. I don't get how anyone can listen to that and not be annoyed by the constant begging and whining. I get that a lot of people have gone through that experience of feeling like you need someone, but if I ever hear someone in real life saying the things that she says in the song, I wouldn't be able to respect them.

Unfortunately this is the opening track and the main single for the album.
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